Truck Driver Mental and Physical Stress, Andrea Morley
Andrea joins me for a conversation about Truck Driver Stress. It will be both mental and physical. And we will discuss some of what she is going to say at the Virtual Truck Driver meeting on March 6.
For information on the meeting call Kim Systma-Hill at 1 800 771 8171
Andrea can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/safetydawginc)
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (0s):
It should be dialing into you tube at it says that we're live Andrea I'm it's a whole minute early. I'm so excited. Andrea and I have never done a live broadcast directly to YouTube. So we've jumped on just a few minutes early and we're going to wait for 10 o'clock and see what happens here. And we will do a live show, a Q and a of Andrea morally healthy trucker. Okay. And this is different.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (41s):
I go live every Monday on Facebook, but this is different. Somehow having a guest and going live, I'm excited.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (50s):
We're keeping your fingers crossed.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (56s):
All right. It is 10 o'clock. Good morning, everybody. We are live on YouTube today on the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast. And my guest. Yes. Live. Now, if you're listening to led pedal radio and you're catching this show, okay, it's not live, but if you're here today on what is the date today? February the 19th at 10:00 AM. Andrea Morley is live so welcome Andrea to the Dawg On-It Trucking Pawedcast.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (1m 29s):
Thank you, Chris.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (1m 31s):
How have you been? What's the weather like? I mean, I know I've dug out a snow recently. Tuesday was a heck of a dump. What was it like in London?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (1m 41s):
We have a lot of snow here, so I'm actually West of London closer to like you're on. And we have a lot of snow. I would say a good two feet. It was going past my winter boots when I was trekking through it. The other day, luckily working from home, I'm able to avoid having to drive too much in all that snow in can stay a little bit safer.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (2m 4s):
It is. I mean, I'm not much of a winter guy, but it is awful pretty up there.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (2m 10s):
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (2m 13s):
We do have a live viewer with us. And if not live your one to say hi in the comments like it, give you a shout out. Now, the reason for the, the reason you're a guest today is that we recently videotape there's a truck driver, virtual meeting coming up on March the sixth. And your, one of the guest speakers care T S and safety dog have teamed up to do a truck driver virtual meeting. And just so our listeners understand what we're doing is to avoid some of the technical difficulties. Andrea is going to be with us, live on March the sixth, but we prerecorded her presentation as we're going to prerecord my presentation to try, avoid any technical difficulties.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (3m 2s):
And because we've already prerecorded Andrea's presentation, it created questions within my mind when we were doing it because she had some great information that she's presenting. And so I just wanted to say hi to Andrea, bring her on, ask her what she's talking about on March the sixth, and maybe ask a few follow-up questions from the presentation that I've seen that you haven't seen. So that's why Andrea is here. Welcome.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (3m 34s):
Thank you. Happy to be here.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (3m 37s):
So excited about March 6th, it's going to be fun. We did it as you might know for the American Thanksgiving long weekend, we did one and we had over 500 truck drivers, a tip, which was pretty phenomenal. I think this we're anticipating is going to be fun as well. What are you talking about on March the sixth?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (4m 1s):
So the topic for March the sixth is something I haven't actually presented on before, but it is about the effect of physical and mental stress on driver health. So we have talked a lot about physical or sorry, mental stress and kind of everything to do with mental health and just our general stress levels. But what we wanted to dive into a little bit more was actually physical stress. So talking about how eating a poor diet or not having good eating habits, maybe not eating regularly enough or not eating enough food, eating the wrong foods, maybe exercising too much about how all of those things are actually contributing to our physical stress levels.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (4m 43s):
And then how that is affecting drivers' health.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (4m 47s):
Why would you pick such a topic during this time?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (4m 53s):
Well, we are obviously facing unprecedented stress levels that we have never really seen before, just because we are facing a lot of different factors that didn't exist. Two years ago, five years ago, 10, 20, 30 years ago. Our lifestyles have really, really changed whether it has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. That's obviously brought on a lot of different types of stress. And then if it has to do with technology and how we are simply a phone call or a text message or an email away, and everybody expects us to always have our phones on us and always be 100% accessible. That's contributing to our stress levels. The fact that we are working such long hours and had our computers with us all the time, working from home for a lot of people has added to their stress levels because they're not really experiencing that divide between work time and their personal time.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (5m 46s):
So we are facing a lot of different types of stress coming at us from all different angles. So good topics to talk about
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (5m 54s):
And, you know, being a, a former truck driver, I can't imagine the stresses that a cross border truck driver may be under and then the added stress of coming home and the spouse and the children. Cause we are all under added stress at the moment. And so I think some home time might be more stressful than being in the truck sometimes I'm, you know, it's just, it's an unprecedented time as you say, what can we do to, what can, what can we do to help alleviate some of this mental anxiety?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (6m 36s):
Well, you know what, for drivers, it is specifically very difficult because we talk about when they're at home, they have a lot to deal with and everything that they weren't able to deal with while they were on the road there and then having to fix all the things that are going wrong in their house that they're supposed to needs their help with. They're having to take on some more of those responsibilities in order to give their spouse a break, maybe from taking care of the kids and cleaning and cooking those types of duties. It is really that give and take that they're having to, to work within those relationships. But then at the same time when they are on the road, they're stressed out because they know they can't be there and be at home with their, with their family and be helping with all of those things. And they're having to face all the stress that they face on the road, the traffic that customers appointments, traffic, customs, everything that they deal with when they're on the road and then as well, knowing that burden that is happening at home as well.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (7m 30s):
So we do talk a lot in the presentation about different stress management techniques. That's something I have talked quite a bit about in the past. I've written a lot of articles on that. We definitely talk about that within the presentation. Again, stress management techniques can be as simple as learning to stop yourself and take a few deep breaths when you need to maybe going for walks a little bit more regularly. That's one of the best ways to just clear your thoughts, clear your head. And she kind of be able to refocus on what's really important and what you need to be giving your attention to. And what's kind of draining your energy and draining your, your attention and causing more stress to you.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (8m 13s):
And then other things like maybe even yoga and meditation, if that's the right option for you, I highly encourage you to do that. You would be surprised at how many truck drivers do take advantage of things like yoga and meditation, but you know what, it's not for everybody. And that's okay. And I'm not going to sit here and tell every truck driver that they need to be doing that, but it is worth a try because it could even be as simple as just laying down or sitting down and just closing your eyes and letting all of your thoughts filter out of your mind. And just focusing on one thing, maybe that's your breathing, or maybe that's the sounds that you're hearing around you instead of letting those thoughts kind of take over and take over your mind.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (8m 54s):
It's huge. And I know go deep on March 6th into all that. What our listeners might want to know is on March the sixth, there is a quiz for Andrea's presentation and mine as well. And then documentation that you attended, which is really important to the companies that are asking their drivers to attend it's about documentation. So we really think that drivers are going to pick up some new tips and techniques, perhaps be reminded of some tips and techniques. One of the things during your, the taping of your presentation, I wanted to ask you about, I had told you that God, I guess maybe it was six or nine months ago.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (9m 41s):
I'm not sure when exactly I started watching my weight. I was more than 125 or sorry, two 25. I wish I was down 125. No, I'd be sick and dead, but I was at 225 pounds North of that. And I'm now down. I weighed myself this morning, one 95.8. So I've lost some weight, but you implied or suggested during the presentation that I didn't do it the right way. What I was doing was having greens in the morning, drinking lots of water, drinking anywhere from two to four liters of water in a day, which I want to talk about for truck drivers.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (10m 26s):
How in the heck can they do that? And then I wouldn't eat again though until anywhere between five and seven 30 at night, depending on my schedule. And you didn't say that I was doing it wrong, but you in the presentation suggest that maybe Chris, that wasn't the right point to do it. What do you mean?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (10m 48s):
Yeah. So I would never tell you, Chris, you did that completely wrong. That's not the case, but in the presentation, a lot of what I talked about, maybe didn't align with the steps that you had taken to lose weight. You know, the first thing I want to say is that we need to remember that weight loss does not always equal health. Those two things are not synonymous. They're not the exact same thing. If you are losing weight, it could be for a variety of reasons. It could be that you are eating really well, supporting your metabolism, taking care of your body in the right ways. And therefore releasing the extra weight that you're carrying around. It could also be because your body is under a lot of stress and you are kind of forcing it to have to use different sources of energy.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (11m 29s):
And then it could also be due to things like illness or injury and your body simply also taking on a lot of stress, but different types of stress and therefore losing weight. Now, in your case, it sounds like you were probably putting your body through some stress. And this is one of the big topics that we do talk about on March 6th is physical stress that you are causing your body based on your eating specifically. So for you, you mentioned that in the mornings, you eat very little and then you don't typically eat much at all up until that five or six o'clock period. What that does is it puts your body into a fasted state and that has become very popular over the past five to 10 years is what's called intermittent fasting.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (12m 16s):
And that's when you are shrinking down your eating window to be anywhere from say two to four to six or eight hours. So you are going maybe a period of 12 to 18 hours of fasting. So maybe you stop eating at six o'clock at night, and then you don't eat again until 12 o'clock the next day, that would be an 18 hour fasting period. And then you may let yourself eat from 12 o'clock noon up until 6:00 PM again each day. And that's your eating window. And what that does is it forces your body to find its own sources of energy. Since you're not feeding it through throughout those 18 hours, w our bodies and our brains need a constant source of glucose specifically.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (13m 5s):
And when we're not eating sources of sugar or sources of carbohydrates that can be broken down into glucose sugar, basically it has to pull from a different areas in order to kind of create its own forms of sugar. So it may then pull from your fat stores or your protein stores in order, depending again, on where your health is at and what you are eating, or if you are eating lots of fat it'll work to eventually work, to break down that fat into kind of a form of glucose. But then you're also having ketone bodies released at the same time. And that's where you get the keto diet. Now, these types of eating, if you are forcing your body to not eat for an extended period of time and find its own energy or not feeding your body sugar, not feeding your body carbohydrates in order to make sugar, then that is going to be really stressful on your body because that's again, having to force itself to find its own source of energy.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (14m 5s):
Okay? Now, what this does is it releases a myriad of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, in order to kind of realize like your body is saying, I don't have energy available. I don't have calories available. We're not eating right now. We need to find our own energy and we need to survive. Whatever is happening right now. So maybe you are lost in the woods. Your body doesn't know exactly what your situation is. So your body might say, Hey, we could be lost in the woods for the next week. We need to conserve our energy. We need to find our own sources of energy within the body. And we need to like provide the energy needed in order to survive this that's when we go into kind of the, the flight or fight mode and our body says, can we need to do whatever we can in order to get through this next period of time, that releases stress, hormones, things like adrenaline initially, and then cortisol and adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (15m 5s):
Not very nice to our health in the long-term gets us through things initially, but over time, it doesn't help with things like fat stores. For example, cortisol is heavily linked to increased visceral fat. So that's fat that we carry in the section. So if you are possibly forcing yourself to not eat, maybe you are initially losing weight, but then over time you could kind of see maybe that beer belly or the stomach fat starting to creep up on you. That's just an example of how not eating. Maybe throughout the entire day, kind of restricting your carbohydrates, going through different types of physical stress.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (15m 47s):
Again, not eating is a form of physical stress and your body has to adapt to that. And then we see things like belly fat, starting to creep up on us.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (15m 59s):
And it's funny because I've currently plateaued. I haven't lost weight in probably a month now. Like I've been around the one 90, I've been as low as one 92, but it's actually started to creep up a little bit. Now
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (16m 18s):
That is a really, really good point because I have a lot of people that come to me and say, I started eating healthy a month ago and I was eating lots and lots of vegetables and protein, just basically eating vegetables and meat. That was my main source of fuel. And I was only eating maybe 1200 to 1500 calories a day. And I lost five to 10 pounds. But all of a sudden I stopped losing and I haven't lost weight in the last three weeks. And they'll say, well, why is that? I'm doing everything right? And there's no possible way that I can eat healthier than I am right now. What's happening is your metabolism has completely slowed down. So you, your body says, okay, he's not feeding us enough calories.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (17m 1s):
So we need to burn less calories in order to be able to utilize the small amount of calories that he is giving us. So then your metabolism slows down and then you're not burning as many calories throughout the day. As you normally would. You need to kind of stoke that metabolic fire as much as you can with the right foods, by eating first thing in the morning, eating breakfast, that's going to like stoke the fire, feed your metabolism so that your metabolism knows, okay, you can start burning more calories so that we, we know we have energy available. We can burn more calories and help him get through his day. And then you want to be eating meals and snacks throughout your day as well. And then you also want to be eating the right foods, which is going to include a mix of carbohydrates, a mix of proteins and fats, healthy fats.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (17m 52s):
You eat all three of those. You eat enough calories, you eat enough throughout the entire day. And that is what's going to help you to speed up your metabolism, burn enough calories, and then continue to lose weight until you reach that healthy weight.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (18m 7s):
See, and if people want to learn more, they should be listening to us or to you because I don't speak during your presentation, but listening to you on March the sixth, because I really do believe we're in unprecedented times at the moment. And the amount of stress on all of us, especially truck drivers is huge right at the moment with COVID and, and all the other stuff and, and unprecedented snow storms at the moment. Well, it's another form of stress that the drivers off on the road having to navigate, you know, up to 80,000 pounds, or sometimes even heavier in a snow storm, knowing full well that the spouse is at home having to deal with the results of the snow storm.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (18m 55s):
And they're not there to help. It's just, it's added stress, stress upon stress at the moment. And I know on March the sixth, you've got some great tips to handle stress. Can you give us just one tip today on how a driver might handle stress?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (19m 14s):
Well, you know what I think kind of going back to what you were just talking about about how COVID-19 has obviously increased our stress levels. Winter has increased our stress levels, but what I would say to people is because in your free time, you're probably doing less right now, right? When you are at home, when you do have those days off, when you are with your family, you don't have quite as many obligations as you maybe normally would. You're not able to go out to friends, houses, and parties and events and barbecues that you would normally have in the summer. You're primarily spending your time at home. And that kind of does give us a bit of an opportunity to slow down a little bit when we're not working.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (19m 55s):
Of course, we still need to make sure that the kids are fed and the groceries are done, and all those essential things are met, but at the same time, you may find yourself with just a little bit more spare time. And if that is the case, then I really encourage people to take advantage of that spare time and not just kind of waste away and fully lounge around on your days off, actually do something productive for your health. And maybe that does mean getting out for a nice long walk, even if it is winter and you need to bundle up a little bit more or getting out and trying to take the kids, tobogganing something that's just going to make your day a little bit more fun or something that's going to help you to release a bit of that stress.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (20m 40s):
Maybe just by going for a walk by yourself or doing something with your family that you can, or just maybe spending a little bit time, a little bit of time alone, maybe block off one area of the house that you can just go and try to meditate for a few minutes or do some stretches, or do a little bit of a workout. Making sure that you're not overdoing it because we talk on March 6th about how too much exercise can actually be causing you more physical stress, but getting in that workout, even if you can't go to the gym right now is really going to help with stress levels. But I would definitely recommend tuning in on March 6th so that you can get the full picture and all of those tips and tricks we talk about and how to not only reduce your stress levels, but balance your stress levels.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (21m 25s):
And Andrea, you know, one of the things about going live when you forget to do something at the beginning of the show, it's really kind of embarrassing. And I forgot to say, Andrea, can you tell us what makes you a specialist in your field?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (21m 43s):
Definitely. So just a little bit of an intro about myself is that my name is Andrea. I work with NHL insurance and work on the healthy trucker program that we've developed. There. I am a nutritionist. I went to school for nutrition and have a bachelor's degree in human nutrition. So that is my area of specialty. But over the past several years, I've really branched into other areas of health as well. We at NHL insurance, we use our healthy trucker program as a perk for our clients and kind of a way to help our clients improve their health and get more in touch with what they need to be doing to live a healthier lifestyle on the road.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (22m 23s):
And I talk to a lot of different associations and not a lot of different events on driver health and helping to educate safety professionals as well as truck drivers on living a healthier, safer lifestyle on the road.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (22m 38s):
And again, because this is what the first time doing live. I forgot to put your contact info in the show notes, which I will do immediately as soon as we wrap up here. So if people want more information, they can reach out to you by email. Is that the best way? Yep.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (22m 58s):
Email is great. So my email is a morally, just my first initial and my last email@example.com. Or you can go to our website, healthy, trucker.com and there's links on there that you can just click on to email us automatically.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (23m 13s):
And I'll put those in the show notes below. Just give me two minutes after we quit going live. All right, that'll be the first thing I do. If somebody wants more information, they sh both the March 6th truck driver meeting. They should reach out to Kim Seitz my Hill, and she's at KRTS our partner for this. And she can be reached at +1 800-771-8171. And again, I will put that in the show notes below as well. Last words, Andrea, what would you like to say?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (23m 49s):
You know what, I think we've covered a lot today, but I would really, really recommend that people try to avoid the diet and health trends that tend to fly around on social media a lot in recent years or just in the media, in magazines, things like that. So we do see diets coming and going very quickly, whether it was back kind of in the nineties or early two thousands with the Atkins diet or the ketogenic diet, paleo whole 30, these are all diets. And what I really want people to realize is that you do not need a specific diet or a specific set of rules in order to lose weight or become healthy. It, what, what I really recommend that you do is just learn the foundations of good health and the foundations of supporting your metabolism, supporting your organs, specifically your liver, and reducing the stress that you're putting on your liver, doing things like that is what's really going to help you to live a healthier lifestyle, whether you're at home or on the road.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (24m 53s):
So avoiding what everyone is telling you that you need to do all of those extreme things like restricting your carb intake completely or cutting out all animal products, because you need vegetables just to, to be healthy. And that's all you need to live on. Avoiding those, those crazy restrictive diets and just learning what works the best for your body. Maybe learning what foods you are, kind of reacting to working a little bit on your gut health. If you need to working with a qualified practitioner that can actually address your root cause issues. That's what I recommend everybody does and avoid all the insanity that happens on social media. When it comes to different diets, don't just do what your neighbor or your friend is doing.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (25m 34s):
Do what works for you.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (25m 36s):
Are you saying social media is not the answer to everything?
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (25m 41s):
No, it's not indefinitely, not when it comes to health.
Chris Harris, Safety Dawg (25m 45s):
Andrea, thanks so much for coming on the show. I will put your contact info in the show notes below. I will put Kim's contact info or the phone number that you can reach out to Kim in the show notes below. Just give me a couple of minutes and that will be done. Thanks, Andrea so much. Have a great day.
Andrea Morley, Healthy Trucker (26m 5s):
No problem. Thanks for having me, Chris.